Milkweed Is Not A Weed – It Is A Wildlife Haven For Your Garden!

Monarch Butterfly next to my back garden milkweed

When I was a child I grew up in the country and there were lots of fields filled with weeds. I remember being told that milkweed was, well… a weed. I was encouraged to kill it. After living with the common milkweed in my garden, I can say we should be encouraging it to thrive instead.

Above you see a photo of a Monarch Butterfly resting in front of a small patch of milkweed I have growing in my community garden. It is just one native plant out of many in this garden that encourages wildlife. Milkweed is known as larval food for the Monarch Butterfly and an important nectar source for bees.

Milkweed comes from the Asclepias family and gets its name from the copious white, bitter liquid that flows readily from a wounded plant. Although the pods are edible, milkweed is known to have cardiac glycoside poisons in all parts of the plant. It may cause death when an animal (or human) consumes 1/10 of its body weight or more of any part of the plant.

However, it is truly a wildlife haven for insects such as the Monarch Butterfly, who use it as a favorite nesting plant and caterpillar food source. Milkweed filaments from the follicles are hollow and coated with wax. They have good insulation qualities and are grown commercially as a hypoallergic pillow filling. In nature, birds use the beautiful “fluff” as a nesting product.

Encourage a milkweed plant to grow in your garden and you will have lots of butterflies and bees to pollinate all the other plants. It is a mini-habitat to educate your children and a perfect native plant to encourage more wildlife to come to your garden.


Above you see a group of photos which feature the milkweed pod and plant. This photo is credited from The Garden Grapevine blog – Thanks for allowing me to show my readers your great photography and detailed milkweed information.

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  • Reply
    August 31, 2010 at 1:26 am

    I have to remember to grow milkweed next year!

  • Reply
    Tom Barrett
    August 31, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Funny you should mention this today. I was browsing the Flower Hill Farm blog, and owner Carol has 2 blog posts showing some awesome photos of the Monarchs who have taken roost in her garden. She does not mention what plant they are on, but I image it could be milkweed. I will definitely be planting some if this next spring.

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    August 31, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Definitely a positive way to bring wildlife like monarch butterflies in to your neighborhood!


  • Reply
    hobbies and etc
    September 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    beautiful photos

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    September 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the good words!

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